Roberto Mancini to exit Manchester City: Rising expectations of perfectionist manager was a recipe for trouble

'I am very proud of my job in this year. I have been happy with the team'

As farewells go, it was a pretty extraordinary press briefing given by a manager who was wondering whether he should have seen the writing on the wall earlier. Roberto Mancini might have started the day still believing that the reports of his likely sacking were “stupid”, but come the evening he was starting to change his mind.

In a little room just off the tunnel at Wembley Stadium, Mancini recalled the last time he had been in this position. He had just won the Serie A title with Internazionale in 2008 and had long considered the suggestion in the newspapers that he would lose his job with derision until something changed his mind.

“I read the Corriere della Sera, a newspaper which is very close with Inter, and one journalist wrote that Inter will probably sack me. In that moment I understood that maybe it was true. For this reason I don’t know about my future, you ask me this [about Manuel Pellegrini]. I don’t know whether it’s true or not.”

By yesterday lunchtime, he will have been only too aware that it was true. Yet at Wembley on Saturday, still digesting a shattering FA Cup final defeat, he looked like a man who was preparing to walk the plank. The club’s chief communications officer, Vicky Kloss, also a club director, and now something of a veteran of City’s bloody managerial sackings, asked Mancini on more than one occasion if he wanted to stop. He carried on.

In his previous set-piece press conference, Mancini had asked why the club had not moved to quash the suggestions that there had been meetings with Pellegrini in Spain. In this subsequent briefing he went further and asked why it should be him who takes the blame for the club’s failings this year, when there were so many others involved.

Mancini has never held back when it comes to what he sees as the failings of those in his own club. As his club’s title defence has collapsed this season he has picked out Samir Nasri as culpable, and he has turned on the club for their failure to make bigger, bolder, earlier signings in the summer. He has pointedly said that Txiki Begiristain, the technical director, and chief executive Ferran Soriano, were not above him in the club’s structure.

He was wrong about that. As City warmed up for the FA Cup final on Saturday, Mancini stood next to their chairman, Khaldoon al-Mubarak, on the touchline at Wembley. There was some conversation between the two men but there were long periods when there was not. If this was once the rock-solid relationship at the heart of City, it certainly did not look that way any more.

In his time at the club, Mancini’s fallings-out with staff and colleagues were endless. The former chief executive Garry Cook and the football administrator Brian Marwood – an absurd title deliberately chosen in order that the manager did not feel like he was lower down the hierarchy  – were often in the firing line. His own medical staff copped it, especially over what Mancini saw as mistakes over injuries to Micah Richards and Sergio Aguero. And that’s before you even get to the players.

He was a perfectionist in an imperfect club and that was always likely to cause problems when the level of expectation rose so quickly and the rivals, no more so than over the fence at Manchester United, were so fearsome. But nonetheless, Mancini’s City last year won the club’s first title since 1968 and he delivered an FA Cup in his first season at the club. Apologies, or admissions of regret, however, were not forthcoming.

“I don’t have any problem, I am very proud of my job in this year, very proud,” he said. “What we did and my staff. We had always the support from the chairman [Khaldoon] that I consider a top man. Anything can happen.

“I have been happy with the team. I think that this team needs more players – that’s normal. We can’t think in three years we will be the best team in the world because we need the time for this. We are not like United, who have done this for 50 years, Chelsea for 20 years. Arsenal? No. Tottenham? No. Milan, Barcelona have the time to work. If one year we don’t win, OK the world is not finished. We start to work [again].”

And finally there were the supporters, whose loyalty to Mancini has been unwavering as the wheels have moved against him. “This is normal because I don’t think there will be another manager who will win 6-1 at Old Trafford against Ferguson ... because Ferguson has retired. I think I was the first manager who, after 30 years, pulled off the banner from Old Trafford.

“We won one Premier League, we won one FA Cup, we won a Community Shield. We lost this FA Cup, unfortunately. And for this reason we are very popular with the support. I love them, they love me and I’m happy for this. If in the end I will leave I will be the first supporter of Manchester City in the future. Now I can say nothing on all this. I don’t know...”

By the end of the 13 minutes for which he had talked, he appeared to have grudgingly accepted his fate. “Some players, some important players, didn’t play well this season.” No one outside the club could fault him for his frankness, although it was probably just another reason for the City hierarchy to push him out the door.

Sport
Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
Sport
world cup 2014
Sport
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Life and Style
fashionJ Crew introduces triple zero size to meet the Asia market demand
Sport
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
News
business
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice